June 14, 2023 – City Council has awarded retiring Superintendent Dr. Jeffery Smith the Distinguished Citizen Medal. Under Smith’s leadership, the city school system has been recognized as a national model.
The approximate equivalent of a “key to the city,” the medal is the highest honor that Council may bestow on an individual. It dates to 1964 and has been given fewer than 40 times.
Smith was named Virginia Superintendent of the Year in 2020 and was a finalist for the national honor. One of the hallmarks of Smith’s eight-year tenure was his collaborative approach that invited administrators, teachers, parents, city officials, business representatives, and community members into the process of designing the system.
Among the achievements Hampton City Schools made during his eight-year tenure:
- Posted the highest accreditation rate with 100% of Hampton’s schools accredited without conditions.
- Posted an on-time graduation rate of 97.64%, exceeding the state average.
- Recorded the lowest dropout rate in the region, at 0.62%
- Initiated a dual enrollment opportunity with the Virginia Peninsula Community College that enabled rising sophomore students to gain access and earn dual enrollment credits on the community college campus. Then, focused on college credits in the high school. Increased dual enrollment credit hours, from 518 credits earned to 25,443 credits earned. Saved students and families approximately $4 million in Virginia Community College System tuition.
- Celebrated 16,490 industry credentials earned across 68 different industry pathways.
- Expanded career academies and pathways via a partnership with Ford Next Generation Learning and implemented a wall-to-wall academies model that allows all high school students to participate in an academy. Since 2015, HCS has moved from 18 to 44 college and career pathway options that align with high-demand, high-wage jobs.
- Supported the planning and hosting of annual career fairs and expos where all freshmen are provided the opportunity to engage with members of the business community. Approximately 100 businesses partner with HCS for this annual event.
- Convened a superintendent’s work team around the focus of climate and culture, which led to the launching of a robust tiered system of support for social and emotional learning.
See more information about the Distinguished Citizen Medal and other honorees.